I had made sure to grab a bunch of change from the change dish for my copies before I left the house, so counting out the nickels and pennies for my copies was easy. A woman came up behind me to sign out of the computer use sheet and watched me count my change to the lady behind the counter.

“What’d you do — raid your kid’s piggy bank or something?”

Her light, tactless sarcasm made me angry. Outrageously so. My emotions this last week have been all over the map, and it was all I could do to not round on her with a livid “I don’t have a kid because HE DIED!” It was all I could do to keep counting the nickels and pennies in my hands when all I wanted to do was spit and growl my disgust at her. I seethed, and completely ignored her. When I left, I muttered and griped and hissed under my breath with colorful (ahem) language about idiot women and insensitive stupidity. I yanked open my car door and slammed it behind me.

I know, I know: completely over-the-top, even for my heart-on-my-sleeve existence. As I sat there in the safety of my car, I realized how petty I was acting. The woman couldn’t possibly have known. But I was still angry.

I had to run an errand at the church, and I welcomed the peace I always feel when I entered the Sanctuary (I love that they call it so). I dropped off the item I had to drop off, and took a moment for myself. I found a pew and made myself comfortable listening to the silence in that big room. I love going to church when no one else is there. It seems so private and personal and I never feel alone. My LDS friends told me about a room in their Temple called the Celestial Room, where you can go to pray and everything feels amplified. Our Sanctuary feels like that to me. When I am in there, I feel safe, even from my own turmoil.

When I am in church by myself, I am always overcome with a need to sing. Something in me hears the comforting hush of the large room, and yearns to fill it with music. I never give in, but today I did. My fingers found the index and the page in the hymnal by themselves. The notation was just as I had learned it all those years ago, and I took a steady breath and opened my lips with the first beautiful note:

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Hearing my voice resonate to the rafters gives me chills, and I find a lasting comfort in it.

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2 thoughts on “Stony Griefs

  1. God is so good to be there in those moments and lift us up to His tender Heart. He weaves His Presence into our humble existence because He cannot resist – His loving tenderness so great. Praise Him for moments like these – it is seeing Light amidst the darkness. How much brighter It is!

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